Challenges are opportunities to grow

General Managers of starred hotels, especially those of a chain, are like heads of diplomatic missions. They move from one place to another every few years, leaving behind a legacy and taking over a new challenge.

Each move marks a milestone in their careers, adding a new meaning to hotel-client relationship and more importantly to management-staff interaction.

Professionals follow one cardinal principle with fervour: Do not upset the applecart and lead by example.

Paul Evans, who has just taken charge as General Manager of Stamford Plaza Auckland has added another dimension to the time-honoured tradition: build on the existing bond and create new relationships that would widen the circle of happy men and women.

People’s business

He recognises the challenges that inevitably call on his profession, the foremost of which is to retain the pivotal position of Stamford in an extremely crowded market in an extremely troubled global economy.

“Hotels do not achieve their fame and status in the market for their location, chandeliered opulence, expensive or expansive lobby or other attractions. Guests choose a hotel for its people and the quality of service that they provide. Comfort and convenience are standard expectations, but this is a people-to-people business,” he said.

Rich experience

Mr Evans has brought with him rich experience gained in at least a dozen properties in New Zealand and UK, in some of which his involvement commenced at the planning and construction stage.

Beginning his career in 1986 at Auckland City Travelodge (now known as Copthorne Harbour City), he moved to Christchurch Park Royal (which, after reconstruction following the 2011 earthquakes is a Crowne Plaza property) and then to Wellington Park Royal, which also underwent change of brand to InterContinental.

Following a brief tour of duty at Centra Auckland (now Crowne Plaza), Mr Evans went to the United Kingdom, the land of his grandparents.

London was the obvious choice for the progressive hotelier. He continued his career in the Northern Hemisphere with One Aldwych, an award-winning hotel in the heart of London, and thereafter at St Martins Lane, one of the most elegant hotels in the luxury category. Moving within the Morgan Group, he shifted to Sanderson Hotel on Burners Street, before returning to Auckland in 2001 to join the newly opened Hilton Hotel in Princes Wharf as Assistant General Manager.

He was also associated with Melview Developments as Director of Hotels, overseeing the opening of Westin Auckland (now Sofitel), Quadrant Auckland and Holiday Inn Wellington (now Rydges Hoel)

Great advantage

One of the greatest advantages of working with well-trained and highly motivated professionals is that each of them understands the intricacies and sensitivities of the hospital industry and works with commitment to not only improve their own performance but also that of the property in which they are employed.

Mr Evans believes that he is extremely fortunate to have inherited the legacy of his predecessor (Indian Newslink, November 15, 2012), who left a new benchmark of quality service and customer satisfaction.

“I am keen to maintain and enhance our position in the niche of the niche market. I am confident that the members of my management team and staff will continue to offer their best in promoting our ideals and values. I enjoy meeting our people, be it the front office staff or those providing housekeeping or maintenance services. I am also aware that staying at the top is more challenging than reaching there,” he said.

In due course, Mr Evans hopes to offer new services that would not only mark the return of traditional services but also foster endearment of customers.

Innovation has been a major motivating factor in the growth and success of Stamford Plaza, encouraging its staff to be involved and committed, promoting the overall quality of the product.

These values would remain constant in an ever-changing world.

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